Periwinkle, A Shade Loving Herb

One of the lovelier flowering herbs, periwinkle (Vinca major) is a popular shade plant that isn't picky about soil as long as it drains well.

Propagating Periwinkle

In spring, it can be divided or propagated from cuttings. Take five-inch lengths of stem and place them in a porous potting mix. Provide plenty of water and dappled light until they root. Periwinkle also roots readily as it creeps along the ground.

A hardy perennial with glossy leaves and blue flowers, periwinkle can sometimes bloom twice in a season, both spring and autumn, and can be invasive if not contained. The leaves are evergreen, retaining their rich color throughout the winter.

It's a good fill-in for those problem areas that get a little too much shade for your first plant choice.

Periwinkle in Myth and Legend

Periwinkle has a long magical history and was a common ingredient in charms and potions. Its presence was believed to discourage evil spirits and keep your home safe from ghostly interlopers. In her wonderful book: "The Book of Herb Lore", Lady Rosalind Northcote refers to an ancient text translated from the Hebrew that contained a recipe for an evil-busting herb mixture that included: vervain, periwinkle, sage, mint, valerian, ash, and basil. In olden times, garlands of periwinkle were placed on the coffins of dead children, and in France it is considered an herb of friendship.

Medicinal Periwinkle

Periwinkle has medicinal applications as a treatment for both leukemia and diabetes, but it's not for the do-it-yourself herbalist, so don't use it in your home remedies. This little gem is for decoration only.

The lovely photo accompanying this post is the work of Robert Hoge. Check out his great images at


  1. Robert Hoge6:42:00 PM

    Thank you for posting this. Great article.

  2. Thanks Robert,

    I really love periwinkle and appreciate why they named a color after it.




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